A Long Forgotten Secret
Written by Donald E. Fleming II
Story concept by Donald E. Fleming II
Disclaimer: All Gargoyles characters are the property of Disney and Buena Vista Studios and are being used without their consent or permission. Other Gargoyle characters are the property of The Gargoyle Saga (TGS) writing staff and also are being used without their permission. I am receiving no reward for this story other than the satisfaction of being able to share it with others as it is intended solely for my own entertainment and the entertainment of Gargoyle fandom everywhere.
At long last, I have finally bested her and I can tell by the smile on her face that she is pleased. Demona has finally fallen before me and she couldn't be happier.
I reached down, offering my hand to help her to her feet. She took it and allowed me to pull her up. Later, she would no doubt tell me that my compassion would cost me my head in battle, but we are not at war, at least not yet. And besides, we are not enemies. I am the student, she is the teacher.
We note with some chagrin the coins being exchanged between the men and our gargoyle allies. Apparently, the men had felt it best to bet on Demona this time, rather than risk losing should I fail to best her in combat once again. My father openly disapproves of the wagering on the outcome of our training sessions, but I know secretly that he revels in it, since it serves to tighten the bonds of alliance between our clan and Demona's.
My father came down to congratulate me on my victory over Demona. He and my mother had been watching the contest from the top of the tower, and I suspect that 'twas his goading that gave me the edge to finally best my longtime mentor.
"I knew ye would eventually fall before him, Demona," my father says to her. "Ye have trained him well."
"He will make a fine king one day, Macbeth," I hear her return as she rests her hand on my shoulder. "But be careful. I may take it in my mind to turn him into a gargoyle and take him as a mate."
'Tis a good-natured ribbing at my expense, and there was some laughter at her statement, but I wonder if she knew at that moment how much I longed to hear her say those words. I would gladly have sacrificed my humanity and my crown if it meant I could be with her.
I know 'tis madness to have these thoughts, and if my father knew, he would think me daft, and the men would think me insane. But I can no longer deny what my heart has been telling me for so long. I love her. I think I have for a long time.
I still recall the first time I laid eyes on her. I was but a lad, not much younger than my cousin Prince Canmore, and she had come to my father's tent shortly before his battle with Prince Duncan. She frightened me at first, but later I grew to accept her, as had most of Scotland after word of her bravery in battle spread. It was only just recently that I began to see her as more than just an ally, friend and mentor. I have started to see her as my heart's desire.
I do fear what may happen if I openly voice my desire. My mother clearly would disapprove, as she had when Demona joked about taking me as her own.
"Ye most certainly will not," she had said. "I'll not have ye seducing my son, not while I have breath within me."
"Be at peace, my love," my father had said. "I'm certain that Demona meant that as just a harmless jest, correct?"
She laid her head on my shoulder then, sending a thrill up and down my spine as I heard her laugh pleasantly. "Perhaps," she said. For a brief moment, I thought she might kiss me then, openly for all to see, but she didn't, not wanting to infuriate my mother any further. I wonder if she knew how much I wish she had.
The moment was cut short then. A messenger arrived with word that the Hunter has returned, and this time he has the backing of the English. I suspect that my cousin is behind this, he has sworn revenge against my father and Demona for imagined wrongs done to him and his father, and he has been spreading lies about the gargoyles throughout the English Court to bolster support for his cause. This very night, Demona departed the castle to meet them in battle, vowing to drive them away. I longed to join her in battle, fighting by her side if only to strengthen the bond between us so that one day I may be able to tell her how I feel about her. Maybe not openly before the court, the Church would never approve of that, but perhaps secretly that we may enjoy each others company for as long as possible.
But I cannot join her. My place is here, alongside my father and mother, while my heart's desire goes off to fight for us, perhaps to win, perhaps to die. I only wish I had the courage to tell her.
Written by my hand on the 30th day of June in the year of our Lord 1057 AD.
Prince Luach of Clan Moray.
Demona set down the faded documents as she felt tears well up in her eyes. "Where did you find this?" she asked.
"It came into my possession last year," Macbeth said. "At first, I couldna believe that it was real, but after I had a chance to study it, I knew that it was authentic."
"And the reason you brought it to me…"
"I dinna know that my son had these feelings for you, Demona," Macbeth said. "I thought that ye should have a right to know how he felt."
"Are you certain it wasn't to drive the knife in deeper?" she snapped.
"I dinna have to come at all, Demona," he said. "If I had wanted to hurt you, I could have told you that the pages existed and left it at that. I dinna have to let you know how my son felt about ye."
Demona looked at the pages again. Luach had been in love with me, she thought. Why didn't he tell me? And if he had, what would she have done? Laughed at him? Rejected him? Loved him? If he had admitted how he felt about her, would that have changed the outcome of the battle to come. Would she have been able to betray Macbeth to the Hunter and the English, knowing that she was putting the life of someone who loved her in jeopardy? The humans say that hindsight is 20/20, she thought bitterly. But it does me little good in the here and now, since I can't go back and change the past. I tried that once already this century.
"Are there any more like this?" she asked.
"Nay," Macbeth said. "These are the only pages that lasted this long. All of the others have long since turned to dust."
She looked back at the fragile parchments, now kept whole by a layering of plastic that held the brittle sheets together. This is all that is left of him, she thought. A young boy whom I watched grow up into a young man and a fine warrior, and I killed him, as assuredly as if I had struck the blow myself. She picked up the pages and began to hand them back to Macbeth.
"Nay, Demona," he said. "I brought them tonight because I know that Luach would have wanted you to have them. And I know that he would want us to put the past behind us and start anew. After all that has happened between us, Demona, I think we owe him that much."
Demona looked up at the former Scottish king; her onetime ally, friend, enemy, husband, and saw a softness in his eyes that she had never seen before. He was tired, tired of their constant fighting, bickering, feuding, and so was she. He was right, she thought. It was time to start anew.
She got up from the desk and went over to a cabinet, taking out a bottle of Brandy and a pair of glasses. She poured a glass for the two of them and then they sat, drinking to the memory of Luach. Macbeth drank to the memory of a son taken before his time, and Demona drank to the memory of a lost love she never knew she had.